Before & After

Centsational Style: Restaurant Redo

Monday, August 10th, 2009

We have a row of fine dining restaurants in the downtown area of my hometown.  Years ago, we made friends with Marco, the owner of a Zagat rated Italian restaurant called Risibisi (meaning ‘rice and peas’ in Italian).  A few weeks ago, Marco hired me redo his front window.  My task was to inject some style, texture, and romance into his window display without spending a fortune.  I was delighted to be entrusted with the task. 

by night

Let me give you a brief tour of the inside of the restaurant before I show you the upgraded window decor.  His menu features rustic Italian cuisine, with an elegant presentation.  Handmade gnocchi, risotto, beef carpaccio, osso bucco, cioppino, seasonal specials, with wines from Italy – and all made with fresh, local, sustainable products.  Our meals are simply scrumptious every time we dine.   

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Twin Tower Shelf Transformation

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Sometimes, you get really lucky being in the right place at just the right time.  My local Villeroy & Boch outlet was closing its doors last month, and they were selling all of their display cabinets for $20 dollars each.  My jaw dropped.  I was giddy with excitement!  At those prices, I could redo my entire home office/library for a fraction of the cost of new bookcases. 

Here they are in the store the day I found them.  Oh joy, what luck!

villeroy towers

I bought two of the taller shelves you see in the middle for the desk and window side of the library, and two of the twin towers for the sofa side of the room.  I brought them home with the help of a friend with a truck, and they’ve been sitting in my garage ever since. 

They were a buttery yellow shade with country blue trim, and the paint was a little nicked up from traveling across town.  I really wanted a bright cream color to showcase my books and collectibles. 

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A Good Facelift

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

If you thought you were getting a juicy discussion on Hollywood’s best lifts and enhancements, I’m truly sorry to disappoint.  This topic is not nearly as scintillating. 

I’m talking about closet doors.  Those standard white doors installed by contractors in every house built in America in the last 15 years.  (That is, unless you can afford those upgraded wood or custom doors that we drool over in glossy décor magazines.) 

As you regular readers know, I am in the process of remodeling my home office.  I have ignored this space for years, but no more ! I’m starting from scratch this time.  A blank canvas.  I realized that before I could hang my gorgeous grasscloth wallpaper (in the most amazing slightly luminescent gray blue, oh joy!), I had to touch up some trim.  And I had to paint the closet doors.  The paint was dingy – yellowed from years of sunlight – and they are the first thing you notice when you walk in my home office.  No. Thank. You. 

Instead of just painting them white, I thought I’d give them a bit of interest and a hint more sophistication.  After all, they practically take up the entire wall, so why not embellish? 

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